Train ICCs to tackle sex crimes: Kerala HC tells production houses

This historic order was passed in the context of a public interest litigation filed by Women in Cinema Collective seeking a grievance mechanism within the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists to prevent sexual harassment of women on location of work.

The COE was formed by Parvathy Thiruvothu, Revathy, Rima Killingal, Padmapriya, Anjali Menon etc.

In a major development, the Kerala High Court has ruled that film production houses and film bodies must form an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) under the Workplace Sexual Harassment of Women Act 2013 ( Prevention, Prohibition, and Redress), commonly referred to as the POSH Act.

A divisional bench composed of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shahi P Chaly rendered this judgment on Thursday March 17, after finding that each cinematographic unit is an establishment and that a CIC must be set up for this purpose. , according to the media. ..

This order was issued in the context of a public interest litigation filed by Women in Cinema Collective (WCC), requesting the establishment of a grievance/redress mechanism within the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) , the organization of Malayalam film actors, to prevent harassment of women in the workplace.

A divisional bench also recorded that AMMA volunteered to form a CIC. AMMA filed an affidavit in court stating that it had no objection to forming the ICC in accordance with the statute and added that it was in the process of forming the committee.

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In 2018, the WCC, formed in the aftermath of the 2017 sexual assault of a Malayalam actress in a moving car, attacked AMMA’s inaction against the defendant in the case, Dileep. At a press conference, WCC said it had lost confidence in the association because it seemed indifferent to the interests of the survivor actress.

The main contention in the PIL was that AMMA had failed to set up an internal complaints committee/grievance cell as required by the Vishaka guidelines and the Sexual Harassment in the Workplace (Prevention, ban, repair of 2013).

The court also pointed out that film associations such as Kerala Film Employees Federation (FEFKA), Kerala Film Chamber of Commerce and Malayalam Cine Technicians Association (MACTA) with more than 10 employees should have an ICC, as provided by law.

The current revolutionary order has been well received by a cross section of people in the film industry. K Sureshkumar, the chairman of Kerala Film Chamber, which is the apex body of all film organizations, welcomed the decision and said he would adhere to it. The veteran producer, who is also the father of actress Keerthi Suresh, pointed out that this is just the formation of an internal complaints committee and that it could be done either by the Producers Association, or by the House.